Killer Mike isn’t the name of a man you’d assume would wax intelligently about Reaganomics, Zora Neale Hurston, Joseph Campbell, and Nikki Giovanni, nor is it the name of a man you’d assume would likely run for political office someday. But that’s what you get for assuming. Mike Render, the Atlanta-based rapper, has been slowly but surely building an empire of sophisticated, politically conscious hip hop, and his new album R.A.P. Music (the acronym stands for Rebellious African People’s), produced by New York hipster hip-hopper El-P, is a breakthrough testament that has received plaudits and praise from all corners. In advance of Killer Mike and El-P’s show at the Mohawk, we called up Mike for an enlightening talk about the role of the hero in a man’s life, speaking for the common people, and the declining political awareness of the American population.

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